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Development of a novel human materials hyperspectral remote sensing tool for forensic investigations and operations for U.S. law enforcement

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $547,722)

As submitted by the proposer: Hyperspectral imagery from air vehicles or satellite will continue to be an emerging area of forensic and operational activities in Law enforcement. A major gap in hyperspectral data processing capability is in detecting human materials such as human skin and hair, blood, bone and clothing as well as the common related geologic, environmental and confuser materials. Critical for gaining this capability is to create a robust hyperspectral library and software that contains high quality reference spectra and extensive metadata for human materials and related geologic, environmental and confuser materials. The goal of this project is to produce a first generation software module (Plug-In) for the commonly used ENVI platform based on the existing Tactical Hyperspectral Operations Resource (THOR) Plug-In currently used by the U.S. military. Thirty copies of the resulting Plug-In will be provided for 24 months at no cost to the government after completion of the project. The hypotheses of this project are that (1) human materials will be spectrally diverse such that a useful first generation hyperspectral interpretation software tool can be effectively developed and (2) some aspects of human materials such as spectral changes over time of blood and clothing could be exploited for age determination in the context of crime scenes. The technology will be transformative having impact for numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Having the capability to identify and discriminate human materials will enable an overall increase in crime scene surveillance, tactical situation awareness, and rescue and disaster response. Identification of human materials will enable identification of victims, suspects, active and downed law enforcement officials. In addition, identification of blood, hair, skin, bone and clothing and alteration products may be useful in confirming or refuting recent or past crime scene activities, massacre or (international) genocide sites, mass graves or partially concealed mass graves, locating refugees or transient humans, searching for live, wounded or dead persons. Executing this project at Miami University provides significant cost advantages over industry. The PI of the project has 4 publications in remote sensing and is an expert in geomaterials. Exelis VIS is a well-established government contractor that produces the industry standard remote sensing software. This project will serve as a basis for developing a highly refined next generation technology. This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 17, 2015